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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons II
GA 266

Lesson 60

Oslo, 6-11-'12

It has become clear to you from previous studies that if you do your exercises in a serious and worthy way, certain effects will result. A faithful, conscientious self-observation is necessary if you want to notice results soon. But self-observation shouldn't be practiced so that it becomes self-satisfaction; that's a great danger for an esoteric. The exercises have an effect all right, but if there's pride and other inclinations at the bottom of your soul, the effect on you isn't good. All men tend to have delusions of grandeur, but in ordinary life it's soon corrected by the outer facts. There a man soon notices that he can't do certain things, even though he imagined he could before. In occult life this corrective perception doesn't appear as directly, and one must use strict self-control to avoid the danger of pride.

A second danger is in dishonesty while the intellect and memory get worse, and this eventually degenerates into lack of control over one's actions. One finds an antidote for this in the accessory exercises, in the study of theosophy and in joy in nature. Thereby willing, feeling and thinking are strengthened. A study of theosophy is supposed to exercise one's intellect. For it doesn't suffice to take it all on authority and faith; this would bring about a complete loss of intellect and eventually make one immoral. One would then be inclined to quiet one's conscience by quoting an authority. One should check everything with one's thinking. That's why everything is clothed in concepts and words that one can understand, that appeal to one's intellect. One should confirm theosophy with one's thinking.

If you love nature's beauty and enjoy its small things you won't just feel nature in majestic oceans or mountains—like sensation-seeking modern materialists—but in things that can be found anywhere. When higher worlds open up to a man, he shouldn't close himself off from the outer world. He should become familiar with nature and try to understand it, and not criticize it without sympathy. Then every little animal can teach him something. A man shouldn't say: it's only maya. One would have to answer him: Yes, it's only maya but it's Gods' maya and that's beautiful. Why can a man be glad about a tree today? Because the Gods were once gladdened by what was around them. It would be bad for the future if a man walked through the world indifferently, for he would leave a joyless world behind him. Every joy that one has had from small things will give rise to something for others in the future, and not just for oneself. What's true here is that all concealed things will become manifest.

These three things are supposed to have a healing effect on thinking, feeling and willing. In ancient times, men were much more robust and the exercises were more drastic than the one nervous people do today. Ancient Hebrews spoke about four rabbis who went into the garden of maturity; the first became a megalomaniac, the second did mad things, and the third died. That's drastically expressed to point to the corporeal difficulties that can arise in an esoteric from moral and intellectual defects. This also arise in an ordinary person, but not as directly, and he doesn't know about the connection between lies and disease, for instance. An esoteric makes his body much more receptive. He should see a warning in all difficulties and ailments, which the Gods send him to show that something isn't in order; then he should be even more attentive and careful. A man should only say what's been checked and is true. It's not enough for him to excuse himself with an “I said it in good faith.” That's not enough. An esoteric should also never say: “It's not my fault.” That's a denial of karma and it doesn't help, for karma appears anyway. One should be responsible for one's deeds and improve them.

It would be easy and certainly sensational for me to say that my school is inspired—as it really is—but that's not the outer world's business. There, one must appeal to reason, so that people see what's said. That's why one must write in such a way that it makes sense to the human intellect. It's worthless to refer to inspiration or to offer (15 year old Krishnamurti's) book to the world and say that it's inspired by a master of wisdom.

When esoterics from other schools object that they enter other worlds too, then one must realize that the main thing is how one enter them, and not what one sees there. One can be an advanced seer and yet see everything wrong.